Teacher Academies: One Down, Two To Go!
We had a busy week this week with the first Smithsonian Educational Academy for Teachers of the summer underway. This week's theme was Biodiversity, and twenty-four K-12 science teachers from all over the nation came to Washington DC to participate.
The teachers arrived on Sunday for their introduction to the Biodiversity Academy. On Monday they met at the National Museum of Natural History to explore the day's theme, "Diversity of Scale". Smithsonian scientists and guest speakers lectured on the diversity and importance of insects and how they can be incorporated into science curriculum and used as a model to explain biodiversity concepts. The teachers in the Biodiversity Academy also got to take a behind the scenes tour through the entomology section of the museum's archived collections.
Tuesday, the teachers learned more about "evolutionary relationships" with a visit to the Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. Using plants, flowers, and pollinating insects, the concepts of adaptive radiation and convergent evolution can be beautifully exhibited.
On Wednesday, the teachers took a trip down to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. There they learned more about the diversity of organisms, the importance, and the relevance of watershed and estuary environments. My favorite part of the day was when the teachers got to go seine fishing.
Thursday was an eventful day at the National Zoological Park. We started off at the zoo's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics where several Smithsonian scientists, researchers, and biologists presented their ongoing research and projects in the field of conservation biology. The teachers also got to tour the lab facility and parts of the Invertebrate and Amazonia exhibits inside the zoo.
Friday was another interesting day behind the scenes at the National Museum of Natural History. The teachers in the academy learned about adaptive radiation and comparative anatomy and what it can tell about the history of a species with Smithsonian Research Zoologist Helen James and Research Assistant Megan Spitzer.
Friday was the final day of the Biodiversity Academy, and teachers learned about online resources they could bring into their classrooms and took their post-tests to receive graduate school credits. Here's a slideshow with more pictures from the Biodiversity Teacher Academy for you to enjoy. Overall it was a fun and eventful week, and I can't wait for the next academy!